Longtime McLurg High School principal Greg Mamer was recognized by Battle West Athletics and the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association May 31.
Mamer has been named Male Coach of the Year for 2021 through the Battle West Athletics Association as well as receiving the prestigious Merit Award from the SHSAA.
Changes in provincial guidelinesallowed the entire McLurg student body and staff to secretly gather outside the school the afternoon of June 1 to honour Mamer.
A Battle West Athletics spokesperson said, “Unbeknownst to Mr. Mamer, the school and some special guests had gathered to present him with two awards. First of all, Ryan Nickell, president of the Battle West Athletic Association, presented Greg with the Male Coaches Award for 2021.
This award recognizes a specific coach for exemplary contributions to student athletics, making Mamer a worthy recipient.
Following presentation of the coaching award, SHSAA Executive Director Lyle McKeller and several other honoured guests walked out from around the corner. Representatives from Living Sky School Division, Battle West Athletic Association and North West Athletic Association also assembled for a special presentation.
In presenting the Merit Award, McKeller, read a long list of Mamer’s achievements including two-time service award winner from two different athletic associations. Mamer also served a number of years as president of the Battle West Athletic Association.
Athletic excellence by students and teams at McLurg High School are a testament Mamer’s leadership. The high school’s gym sports a number of provincial banners, illustrating his leadership. The gym is also festooned with sportsmanship awards and other accolades earned under Mamer’s leadership.
McKeller noted Mamer was part of the team that developed the constitution and bylaws that local students abide by in high school sport. He organizes the annual division track and field meet in North Battleford. He encourages high school athletes to becoming officials, giving back to sports.
Under Mamer’s direction, McLurg has hosted numerous district, conference, regional and provincial high school sports championships.
“Most importantly, Mr. Mamer brings a calm, respectful manner, which is clearly reflected in the students and athletes he leads,” McKeller said.
“It [is] with these achievements in mind, and the recommendations from the Battle West Athletic Association to the SHSAA, Mr. Mamer is being bestowed the highest honour this association gives, the Merit Award,” he said.
Following the award presentation, a collage of video and audio tributes were played including emotional moments from his daughter, Rachel Mamer, and brother, Perry Mamer. Staff members, fellow coaches and former athletes also paid tribute.
Video tributes included a moment from Brian Towriss, retired head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, for whom Mamer once played.
“As an athlete, you displayed all of the traits that coaches look for in a leader, which included great work ethic, tenacity, confidence, honesty, integrity and a team-first approach to sport and life,” Towriss said.
Brenda Vickers extended congratulations on behalf of LSSD before turning the microphone over to the honouree.
“ I want to thank so many people,” Mamer said. “I want to acknowledge the staff at McLurg and the fellow coaches and administrators who took the time to come and celebrate today, as they are true inspirations to me.”
As one guest noted, “In true Mamer fashion, he downplayed his deservedness, but everyone in attendance knew better.”
UCHS vice-principal Ken Parker added, “Greg is an exceptionally dedicated member of Battle West Athletics Association with many contributions to the provincial association as well. His actions take into consideration all student athletes and he serves as an example of the benefits of being involved in school sport.
“In my 20 years of working with Greg as an athletic director, I have learned a great deal and he has served as a mentor to the programs I help co-ordinate at UCHS.”
Treyton Pernitsky, former McLurg student and athlete, now a U of S student and athlete, commended Mr. Mamer saying, “Mr. Mamer more than deserves this award. I wouldn’t be the person or athlete I am today if it wasn’t for the guidance and support of Mr. Mamer over the years.”
Pernitsky says he will forever cherish memories with Mamer ‑ early morning practises, high pressure volleyball games and the long sports road trips to provincial track and field meets.
“I am thankful for Mr. Mamer’s coaching that helped make me a better athlete,” says Pernitsky. He describes one of his special moments as Mamer bringing him a letter saying he was being recruited by the U of S Huskies track and field team.